Not All Democrats Are The Same, Media Edition

Leaning left – Michigan Daily Column by Karl Stampfl:

It’s old news: College professors, including those at the University, skew politically to the left.

According to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, people who listed the University of Michigan as their employer have contributed a total of $125,298 to the presidential candidates. Of that, Republican candidates received $27,113. Democratic candidates got $98,185. That’s kind of a big difference. Of the money that went to Democrats, Hillary Clinton trounced all the GOP hopefuls combined with $34,394, and Barack Obama did even better, raising $55,887, twice as much as the Republicans. Of 492 contributions by University affiliates, 52 went to Republicans and 450 to Democrats.

Of course, those filings reports are an inexact measure for several reasons – the Democratic race has lasted longer, for one – but they paint a generally accurate picture.

Still not convinced?

Frankly, no. Here’s the comment I posted on the Daily’s site (slightly edited):
I like the theory behind this column, but I’m afraid it’s lacking some nuance in terms of the substance. The world is not divided into two camps, liberal and conservative, and balance or diversity of thought does not consist of hearing from both those sides. That perception of the political landscape, made easy and intuitive-seeming by the two party system in this country, is constantly reinforced by media coverage. But, if you look across the world, it doesn’t hold up.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

If you compare the views of college professors to political views worldwide (at least in much of the developed, Western world), I think they are much more representative. Some conservatives, a fair number of moderates, and some extreme liberals. There is diversity, it just happens that most of that diversity falls in the spectrum associated with the Democratic party in the United States. But that doesn’t mean it’s some sort of uniform liberal blob that converts you to a particular dogmatic way of thinking. Just try to get a moderate Democratic economics professor to agree with a radical socialist sociology professor about development and I think you will see my point. Just knowing who someone votes for, or donates money too, doesn’t tell you everything about their politics or ideology.

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